The Australian Government today announced it will provide border services at Newcastle Airport to support long-awaited international flights.
Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said the Australian Government had committed more than $2 million a year over the next four years to facilitate international flights at Newcastle Airport.
“I am very pleased to announce that the Australian Government is doing its bit to help make Newcastle Airport’s dream of bringing international flights into the Hunter region a reality,” Mr McCormack said.
“The Australian Government’s $9 million funding commitment will cover the ongoing cost of providing a border services capability at Newcastle Airport.
“Our decision directly supports Virgin Australia’s plans to fly non-stop three times a week between Newcastle and Auckland, with services to be operated on a seasonal basis between November and February.
“These flights will deliver real benefits to Newcastle and the surrounding region.”
Mr McCormack said the resulting new services were expected to generate an additional $6.1 million a year for the local economy and support around 60 additional jobs.
“Local tourism is set to benefit, with flights across the Tasman moving a forecast total of 9,000 passengers over the initial season,” Mr McCormack said.
“We look forward to seeing these flights take-off – just in time for Newcastle’s Supercars event and the busy end-of-year travel period.”
Federal Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said border agencies are working with the airport to ensure the necessary security and other border protection arrangements are in place well before the new services begin in late November.
“The Government’s early decision ensures we can have arrangements in place by then that will maintain the balance between facilitating the efficient movement of people and goods across our border and the need to minimise the associated risks,” Mr Dutton said.
Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said the service would provide greater connectivity for the region.
“While no freight will be carried on these flights, potentially in future, these flights could export our farm produce,” Mr Littleproud said.
“This would give our farmers better access to overseas markets, potentially increase their profits and create local jobs.”
NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said this is another example of the New South Wales and Federal governments enabling businesses to take every opportunity to improve the lives of Newcastle residents and people living throughout the state.
“The start of these flights between Newcastle and Auckland demonstrates our commitment to investing in infrastructure that will deliver regional tourism and economic growth,” Mrs Pavey said.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said the creation of a new international gateway at Newcastle Airport would help drive more international visitors to regional and rural NSW.
“The creation of this new international gateway is a huge win for regional NSW and will help funnel international visitors to some of the State’s most impressive destinations, from the Hunter Valley to the New England region,” Mr Marshall said.